June 23, 2007

Buckets Galore!

I’ve been lax in showing the recent slew of birthday buckets, although my birthday wishes were timely, I promise.

Quick! Jump in this time machine and travel back with me to March in the year of our Lord 2007. I did not rest on my laurels after Chris’ birthday, but celebrated three more Knitgrrl birthdays in quick succession. (I was just lame and didn’t post the pictures.)

Lilyan, Pamela, and Petra all received unique-to-each crafty buckets and matching wallets/coin purses. Pamela helped me shop at some of her local thrift stores, which is where I picked up some of these colorful jeans. (She got her wish, and I used a great pair of purple, nay – violet jeans for her bucket.)

Skip forward a couple of months into May and now it’s Kathy’s birthday! Poor Kathy, she had to wait and wait and wait for her crafty bucket. And boy, did I have excuses for her! First, I was sick, then lazy, then I forgot it, and finally – a month late – she got her bucket. (We won’t even mention how the Squid got his first.)

I found some bright red jeans, which went wonderfully with the ladybug and dragonfly fabric that I picked out for her. (Kathy likes the lady bugs.) The jeans were a little on the smaller size (6 or 8s), so the finished bucket is tall and narrow. I kind of liked this version.

The Squid (of Purling Pirate’s Squid fame) got his bucket a little late, too, but that was due more to the crazy happenings that delayed his birthday party. What? Do not question the Squid’s need of a crafty bucket!

And to bring us up to date (or at least in the same month), is Jen and her crafty bucket.

I still owe some wallets and bits ‘n baubles to a couple of the grrls, and there’s no time for a break because I still have two more to go (plus one).

The funny bit? Now that I’m nearing the end and have purchased all the thrifted jeans that I need, I came to the realization that it might have been easier to work with men’s jeans. [sigh] No hips, nipped in waist, and curves – they build those boys’ jeans pretty straight.

Oh, well. Perhaps this lesson learned will help me in the future. Although to be honest, I don’t know how much more denim myself or my machine can take.

Posted by Nanc at 04:11 PM | Comments (5)

June 14, 2007

The Fruits of Our Labor

Although our garden isn’t exactly bountiful yet, there is promise there.

Still unsure of our yard’s growing zones, we planted herbs, veggies, and flowers is pots around the house this year. Like all new projects, there’s been a learning curve. Some plants have gone gangbusters while others are a bit slower on the uptake (or need more/different nurturing).

Our planting schedule was a little late this year, which might have proven smart given the amount of rain and cold that Spring brought. All of the plants were bought as transplants verses starting them from seed, and we tried not to go bonkers; limiting plants to the containers we purchased (4 large containers plus miscellaneous pots here 'n there). This kind of reserve is not my of my strengths.

We purchased two tomato plants, (unknown varieties), four cucumber plants, two each of 'Pickling' and 'Burpless Bush Hybrid' (hoping for some pickles in the future), plus a zucchini, a Crookneck (yellow) squash, an eggplant, and a chili pepper. Additionally, there are some petunias and cilantro tucked into these pots, which have since been overrun or dried out. (Cilantro, I have since surmised, is trickier than you expect.)

In a stacked set of pots (a nifty item purchased at the Home & Garden show), I have a mix of herbs and flowers. There are lots of petunias, just because they typically do well here, and a mix of fun/funky flowers. Since I planted them, my chives, oregano, and chamomile have bit the dust and the basil doesn’t look that far behind. (Can I tell you how horribly jealous I am of my alley-way, diagonal neighbor and their lush and beautiful basil, tomatoes, eggplant, and more?! Half whisky barrels full of garden treats that taunt me each and every day.)

A handful of mismatched and cracked pots, which were found in the various flower beds around the house, have been procured to hold the overflow flowers and herbs that I bought. The catnip, sage, and mint are growing profusely, and the Origami Columbine flowers have been a nice surprise.

Another planter that we assumed from the previous owners is our diving platform. Or more precisely, the mounted diving board base. (Yes, we have no diving board.) This contained the remnants of vegetable matter when we moved in, and we discussed removing “the tooth” (as Matt likes to call it). In the end, I just planted some lavender, red cockscomb, and Aptenia (I think), and called it a day. Theses three plants love it in this spot, and I’ve even noticed a rogue petunia sneaking into the mix. (Returning from last year?)

My pride and joy, however, is the large container of scented geraniums that I’ve managed to keep alive and growing the last few years. These have been ignored, ant-riddled, and moved from our previous residence, and yet they reward me with large, vibrant leaves and a plethora of blossoms in pinks and reds.

Perhaps I should just stick to the geraniums and tick the rest off as a whim, eh?

Posted by Nanc at 03:23 PM | Comments (5)

June 08, 2007

Keyboard Carwash

I've been getting ready for my new job, cleaning out my laptop bag and organizing my stuff. I took a look at my work keyboard, and it was kinda filthy. Okay, really filthy. If the CDC were to run tests on it, I'm sure they would quarantine or destroy it.

How would a lazy creative person deal with this situation?

A quick explanatory aside. I work on a computer all day and am picky about the peripherals that I use. I can't expect a company to cater to my whims, so I've always supplied my own keyboard and mouse. Nanc is the same way. End aside.

I had some options for dealing with my virulent keyboard. Obviously, the lowest amount of effort would be to toss the nasty keyboard into the garbage and go buy a new one. I ruled this option out because I have trouble throwing something away that is still useful. Besides, I'm sure that the landfills have enough old computer keyboards already.

The next option is to clean it by hand. I've done this in the past. I typically pop all of the keys off, and clean them individually with alchohol. This option was also rejected, due to pure laziness and sloth. I really didn't want to spend 2-3 hours scrubbing the gack of the keyboard. (I could use that time more productively, for instance writing blog entries!)

I opted for option three, the keyboard carwash. I thought about it, and a keyboard doesn't have any really sensitive components, so it should be able to survive a bath. I did a quick google just to make sure, and felt pretty confident as I headed to the dishwasher.

This may have been influenced at the Carwash. It's hard to say.

I put a little bit of Cascade in, and made sure to turn the heated dry cycle off. I had no interest in a Salvador Dali-influenced melty keyboard. I took a deep breath and put the keyboard in the rack and turned the dishwasher on.

As the cycle ran, I started getting nervous. Maybe this wasn't the best idea I've ever had...

After the cycle finished, I turned the keyboard upside down and shook all of the water out. Then I leaned it against a wall on the patio to dry. The keyboard looked good. But would it work or just sit there looking cute?

Every once in a while, I would pick it up and shake off the excess water.

I let the keyboard dry for a few days, then took a deep breath and plugged it in to the computer. I can happily report that it works perfectly. All the keys work and the lights work.

I expect that right about now you've stopped reading this article and you're probably looking down at your keyboard and noticing all of the truly disgusting bits of gunk, hair, an odd Frito crumble, and some mysterious waxy buildup. Sorry to bring it to your attention.

If you decide to try out the keyboard carwash, your mileage may vary. You might drown your keyboard or kill it in any number of other ways. This is a risk that you have to personally accept. I am not responsible for what you do to your keyboard. I can't recommend that you try this. But, I especially can't recommend that you try this parlor trick with anything other than a standard, wired keyboard. I wouldn't feel good about trying this with a wireless keyboard.

Posted by Matty at 09:51 AM | Comments (5)